The new Tom Petty box set An American Treasure is an exploration of the singer’s vast catalog that skips the hits in favor of studio outtakes, demos, alternative takes, live cuts and songs that deserved a bigger following. One of the more interesting selections is “Gainesville,” a previously-unknown song that looks back on his early Florida days with a sentimental gaze. “Good times roll and then move on,” Petty sang. “Long ago and far away, another time, another day.”
Here’s a new video for “Gainesville,” directed by photographer Brantley Gutierrez, that mixes archival film of Petty in his early 1970s Gainesville days with select moments from throughout his career and newly-filmed footage of the singer’s Florida hometown. The song was recorded during the Echo sessions in 1998, but didn’t make the album. “Echo is supposedly his dark album,” says An American Treasure producer Ryan Ulyate. “‘Gainesville’ is this guy who is looking back on this early life with some nostalgia for a simpler time. I love the song. It’s just great, but I can see how it didn’t necessarily fit the vibe of Echo.”
An American Treasure is the first official Petty release since his shocking death in October of 2017, but there will likely be many more to come. His team is already considering a deluxe edition of his 1994 LP Wildflowers and a live set commemorating his 1997 residency at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Guitarist Mike Campbell also says the Heartbreakers may even perform again some day, possibly around the time of the Wildflowers release.